African Union set to launch e-Passport at July Summit in Rwanda
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – 13 June 2016: The African Union (AU) is prepared to launch the electronic passport (e-Passport) at the next AU Summit tabled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016. This flagship project, first agreed upon in 2014, falls squarely within the framework of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and has the specific aim of facilitating free movement of persons, goods and services around the continent – in order to foster intra-Africa trade, integration and socio-economic development.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has described this initiative as both symbolic and significant, calling it a “steady step toward the objective of creating a strong, prosperous and integrated Africa, driven by its own citizens and capable of taking its rightful place on the world stage.”
Aspirations 2 and 7 of Agenda 2063, respectively, envision an Africa that is ‘integrated’ and ‘united’, and the introduction of the Common African Passport as an effort towards realizing integration and unity on the continent.
The first group of beneficiaries will include: AU Heads of State and Government; Ministers of Foreign Affairs; and the Permanent Representatives of AU Member States based at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The AU e-Passports will be issued to them in July 2016, at the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. In order for all the recipients to acquire the passports, they are strongly encouraged to comply with the needed paper work required to accelerate the processing lead time.
The concept of unrestricted movement of persons, goods and services across regions and the continent is not new; it has been outlined in documents like the Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty – an indication that the unhampered movement of citizens is critical for Africa’s development.
Countries such as Seychelles, Mauritius, Rwanda, and Ghana have taken the lead in ensuring easier intra-Africa travel by relaxing visa restrictions and in some cases lifting visa requirements altogether. The scene seems to be set to realize the dream of visa-free travel for African citizens within their own continent by 2020.
Issuance of the AU e-Passport, is expected to pave the way for the Member States to adopt and ratify the necessary Protocols and Legislation with the view to begin issuing the much expected African passport.
Video: AU to launch e-passport valid all across the continent
The African Union plans to launch an electronic passport at the upcoming AU Summit scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda next month
Video: Preparations to issue the first batch of Africa Union E –passports are in the final stretch
Video: Talk Africa: Is a border-less Africa a good or a bad thing?
What is it?
It is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. Its builds on, and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
Some of the past and current initiatives it builds on include: the Lagos Plan of Action, The Abuja Treaty, The Minimum Integration Programme, the Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa (PIDA), the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), The New partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Regional Plans and Programmes and National Plans. It is also built on national, regional, continental best practices in its formulation.
The Guiding Vision
The guiding vision for Agenda 2063 is the AU Vision of “ An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in international arena”
The following form the Foundations for Agenda 2063
• The Constitutive Act of the African Union
• The African Union Vision
• The 8 Priority Areas of AU 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration
• African Aspirations for 2063
• Regional and Continental Frameworks
• Member States National Plans
The African Aspirations for 2063
The seven African Aspirations were derived through a consultative process with the African Citizenry. These are:
• A Prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
• An integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
• An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
• A Peaceful and Secure Africa
• Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics
• An Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by people, especially its women and youth and caring for children
• An Africa as strong, united and influential global player and partner
What makes Agenda 2063 different from past continental initiatives?
• Bottom-up approach: There was extensive consultations of the African Citizenry. This enhances ownership of both the processes and outcomes of the initiative for having a continental agenda for socio-economic transformation. It is not the work of bureaucrats, but rather an Agenda driven by the voices of the African people indicating the Africa They Want.
• Result Orientation: Goals, targets and strategies have been set in each aspirational area for the national, regional and continental stakeholders/ levels. The targets will form the basis for holding stakeholders accountable for performance.
• Monitoring and Evaluation / Accountability: There is a monitoring and evaluation component to ensure that planned activities, outputs, outcomes are on track for attainment- with the mid term reviews providing the basis for programme re-alignment. Accountability roles will be assigned and the outcomes of the monitoring and evaluation process will be used to manage the accountability relationship.
• Policy Coherence / Space: For the first time all continental and regional initiatives have been brought under one umbrella. The integration is expected to enhance consistency, remove policy over laps and redundancies and create space for the management of diversity and uniqueness in the AU.
• Financing/Partnership: A Resource Mobilization Strategy developed has identified key areas of intervention and their associated funding options. Next steps will be taken to operationalize the financing strategies / instruments identified. Strategies for expanding / maximizing partnerships for Agenda 2063 implementation have been developed and would be implemented.
• Communications Strategy: While past frameworks were known only to bureaucrats, Agenda 2063 is to be driven / owned by the people. A Communications strategy has been developed for implementation.
• Capacity: A key success factor for the successful implementation of Agenda 2063 is the capacity of individuals and instructions to play their roles- in the domestication of the Agenda. A Capacity Assessment Study is being undertaken to address the capacity needs of continental and regional institutions; this will later be extended to member states.
The Key Agenda 2063 Documents
• Agenda 2063 Framework Document (Adopted by the AU)
• The Agenda 2063 Popular Version (Adopted by the AU)
• The Draft First Ten-Year Implementation Plan
What is the Purpose of the First-Ten Year Implementation Plan?
The purposes for developing the ten year plan are to :
• Identify priority areas, set specific targets, define strategies and policy measures required to implement the first ten-year plan of Agenda 2063.
• Bring to fruition of the Fast Track programmes and initiatives outlined in the Malabo Decisions of the AU to provide the big push and breakthroughs for Africa’s economic and social transformation.
• Provide information to all key stakeholders at the national, regional and continental levels the expected results / outcomes for the first ten years of plan and the roles /
• Assign responsibilities to all stakeholders in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
• Outline the strategies required to ensure availability of resources and capacities together with citizen’s engagement in the implementation of the First Ten Year Plan.
What Criteria were used in selecting the priority areas for the First Ten Year Plan?
• The AU Flagship Projects/ Programmes
• Focus Areas in national / regional plans
• Continental Frameworks (e.g. CAADP, PIDA, AMV)
• Assembly Decisions (e.g. Silence the Guns by 2020)
AU Flagship Projects/Initiatives
These are projects / initiatives approved by the AU Summit as to be very urgent and relevant and whose immediate implementation will provide quick wins, impact on socio-economic development and enhance the confidence and the commitment of the African Citizenry to be the owners and drivers of Agenda 2063. The Flagship Projects / Initiatives are:
• Integrated High Speed Train Network
• Africa Virtual and E-University
• African Commodity Strategy
• Annual African Forum
• Continental Free Trade Area
• African Passport and free movement of people
• Grand Inga Dam Project
• Pan African E-Network
• Silencing the Guns
• African Outer Space Strategy
Key Next Steps for The Ten-Year Implementation Plan
• Domestication: Integration of the First Ten Year Implementation Plan into National Plans. Efforts are underway to undertake a domestication scoping mission to gather insights for the refinement of a strategy that will outline / develop domestication operational manuals for Member States.
• Resource Mobilization Strategy: A draft document has been produced and it is going through refinements (e.g. the integration of the outcomes of the July International Conference on Financing for Development). Implementation arrangements will be put in place as soon as it is finalized.
• Capacity Assessment Study: The study is yet to be completed. When completed measures will have to be put in place to implement the capacity development plans for AU Organs and the Regional Economic Communities. Strategies / options for capacity assessment of member states are under discussions.
• Communication Strategy: It is up for refinement after which implementation will commence
Follow the history of the creation of United States of Africa